A student operated, faculty mentored dental clinic service experience at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for the underserved refugee community: an interprofessional approach.

Moshtagh R. Farokhi, Birgit Junfin Glass, Kevin M. Gureckis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

As the number of refugees settling in San Antonio increases, so will their health care needs. Due to limited resources and stress, they suffer from acute and chronic diseases, reducing their potential for success in their new host country. The need for proper health education coupled with a stable holistic health care facility is essential for their future success. In 2009, nursing students began serving the San Antonio refugee population. By 2011, dental and medical students joined to create the student-run San Antonio Refugee Health Clinic (SARHC). SARHC serves the refugees by providing free health care/education while connecting them to San Antonio's primary health care system. Select dental, medical, and nursing students under the mentorship of their faculty operate the SARHC clinic. The students work in collaborative teams where select members of the refugee community and bilingual students provide translational assistance. The nursing students take vital signs and medical students perform physical exams after gathering a history of present illness. Dental students provide oral health/nutritional education and screenings inclusive of head and neck examination and oral cancer risk assessment. Thirty-two dental, 83 medical, and 118 nursing students rotated through the clinic last year, serving patients with the most common chief complaints of dental, musculoskeletal, dermatological, and gastrointestinal nature. The most common dental findings for this population have been dental caries, periodontal disease, and other dental diseases requiring urgent care. Sub-programs such as the student interpreter program, ladies' health education, and the Refugee Accompaniment Health Partnership have resulted from the SARHC initiative to meet the refugees' needs. Currently under development is a future collaboration with local San Antonio clinics such as the San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic to serve as their dental home. The use of this interprofessional model has resulted in holistic and accessible health care for the refugees in San Antonio. Patients receive complimentary comprehensive care while students benefit from development of cultural competence reinforcement of humanitarian values. It is difficult to conclude which group is the biggest beneficiary of attending SARHC. As the dental students reflected, "We started attending the clinic as a service learning project. We then became their advocates, treated them at our dental school, and became knowledgeable about our community's dental clinics while offering tailored referrals."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalTexas dental journal
Volume131
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A student operated, faculty mentored dental clinic service experience at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for the underserved refugee community: an interprofessional approach.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this